Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fungus Helps to Control Parasites

Duddingtonia flagrans is a nematode-trapping fungus that is able to eliminate the free-living stages of worm larvae. Their spores germinate and form sticky loops that trap larvae as they migrate through the feces. Once trapped, the fungus kills the larvae, thus, reducing the larval population on pasture that is responsible for the infection of grazing animals.  

D. flagrans spores should be fed during periods of high pasture contamination. Spores fed (6-8 weeks) to periparturient dams can reduce contamination due to the periparturient rise in fecal egg count. Spores then fed (8-10 weeks) to offspring after weaning (beginning of “worm season”), will continue to reduce contamination. They don't affect the worms in the animal so deworming may still be necessary for some animals.

Research and field testing of D. flagrans was undertaken in Europe and the U.S. to provide the base for commercial production of a product. Unfortunately, the company that was developing and promoting the product terminated production. However, another vompany continued to pursue studies in efforts to re-establish D. flagrans as a viable commercial product.

After years of refining the process, their new product has been tested under laboratory and field conditions. The results have shown excellent control in reducing GI nematode larvae in feces. This product is not commercially available in the U.S., but the company is exploring that possibility.

Source:  Timely Topic, American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC)

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